A couple of days ago the always good Francis Coppola wrote a piece for Forbes entitled,
The Banks That Helped Danske Bank Estonia Launder Russian Money
In it she made the simple but essential point that while Danske Bank, through its Estonian branch, had laundered $234 billion,
…Danske Bank Estonia couldn’t do this by itself. Much of the money was paid in U.S. dollars, and for that, it needed help from other banks. Banks that had access to Fedwire, the Federal Reserve’s electronic settlement system. Big banks, in other words.
Coppola then named the banks involved.
J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank AG all made dollar transfers on behalf of the Estonian branch’s non-resident customers. And according to the Wall Street Journal, Citigroup’s Moscow branch may have been involved in some financial transfers in and out of Danske Bank Estonia. (bold emphasis added by me)
So, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan moved money OUT of Danske and in to dollar denominated accounts elsewhere, (see section 19 of Danske’s internal investigation). but that is only half the story. It leaves the huge unanswered question,
who moved the money in to Danske Bank’s Estonian branch in the first place?
The accounts through which the money was laundered are non-resident accounts. Non-resident simply means the people or entities which hold the accounts do not live in Estonia. So how did these non residents deposit their money in Danske’s Estonia branch? Either they physically transported $234 billion dollar’s worth of their local currencies in trunks and suitcases from their own country, in to Estonia and to the bank, or it had to have been deposited electronically. Which would mean some other banks, in addition to those mentioned by Forbes, were involved.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…